The Watchman: Klepper Embeds Himself in America, Enter the Wu-Tang Docuseries

Senior content producer Michael Malone's weekly look at the programming scene
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Klepper begins on Comedy Central May 9, as host Jordan Klepper puts boots on the ground around the U.S. to get behind key issues vexing Americans. He hops a boat with environmental protesters in Louisiana, hangs with undocumented students in Georgia, and wrestles with veterans dealing with PTSD in Texas.

Klepper, former correspondent on The Daily Show and host of The Opposition With Jordan Klepper, spoke of getting “embedded” with the movements and the people pushing them. “We knew we wanted to get out into America and see stories close-up,” he said.

Comedy Central's 'Klepper'

Comedy Central's 'Klepper'

Immersing himself among those pushing for change, Klepper added, “was a nice reminder of what it takes to get something done.”

He climbed in the ring with war veterans who relieve their stress by partaking in wrestling. “They body-slammed me right through a table,” Klepper said. “It looks fake but you’re still getting thrown to the ground, tossed in the air, punched in the chest.”

He also got arrested with undocumented student protestors. “It’s a story I share with people because I want a little street cred,” Klepper noted.

He cited the late Anthony Bourdain, host of Parts Unknown, as an influence for his ability to transport viewers to a remote location and get to know the quirky people there.

Unlike some of his previous work, sarcasm and irony are largely absent from his Klepper reports. “In the end, I’m really proud of this,” Klepper said. “It’s the first time I got to spend this amount of time with folks, and see how hard people are working.”

Also working hard are the fellows in rap’s timeless Wu- Tang Clan. Showtime debuts four-part docuseries Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men May 10. Members include RZA, GZA, Ghostface, Method Man and Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

When producer Peter Scalettar heard the project was in the works, he began poking around. “I thought this is monumental — I want to be a part of it,” he said.

Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men

Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men

An executive producer on the series, he calls Wu-Tang “the greatest rap group of all time” and a hybrid of “storytellers and journalists.”

Of Mics and Men is “a great family story” that will appeal to more than hardcore hip-hop fans, according to Scalettar. Each guy gets humanized in the series. That they remain on good terms is notable.

“The family atmosphere is remarkable,” Scalettar said. “They still have this camaraderie. These guys have figured out how to make it work.”

Wu-Tang has a few new songs for the series. They continue to tour, in the U.K. this week. “The brotherhood outweighs the headaches,” Scalettar said. “After that many years together, you just can’t break the bonds.”

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